Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Developmental Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2020) | Viewed by 30403

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
IRCCS Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Rome, Italy
Interests: neurodevelopmental disorders; dyslexia; ADHD; non-invasive brain stimulation; neuropsychological evaluation; psychiatric comorbidity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to introduce a Special Issue of Brain Science dedicated to Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is diagnosed at school age, but accompanies the person during the course of their life. Dyslexia shows variable clinical features and it is often associated with several neurocognitive deficits and other disorders that complicate the clinical presentation. The multiple-deficit framework has been useful for advancing the science of comorbidity in dyslexia. There is strong evidence for neuropsychological risk factors that contribute to dyslexia, but the potential role of overlapping risk factors is not yet understood. This gap at the neuropsychological level is preventing the specification of a fully integrated model of dyslexia and of effectual therapeutic opportunity. This Special Issue is aimed at better understanding the role of single and/or combined neuropsychological deficits in developing dyslexia and in treatment outcomes.

Submissions are invited to this Special Issue of Brain Science that aims to tackle neurocognitive risk factors that contribute to dyslexia and that have an effective role in treatment.

Contributions reporting results from experiments characterizing the neuropsychological profile of children and adults with dyslexia or at risk of dyslexia by comparing them with other neurodevelopmental disorders are particularly encouraged. In order to deepen the etiopathogenic knowledge of neuropsychological factors in dyslexia and improve treatments, studies using methods directly investigating brain activity during neuropsychological examination and brain changes after interventions in dyslexia (e.g., EEG, fMRI, TMS, tDCS) are also appreciated.

Dr. Deny Menghini
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Dyslexia
  • Neuropsychological deficits
  • Predictive neurocognitive factors
  • Multifactorial deficits
  • Learning disabilities

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 2126 KiB  
Article
Beyond Reading Modulation: Temporo-Parietal tDCS Alters Visuo-Spatial Attention and Motion Perception in Dyslexia
by Giulia Lazzaro, Sara Bertoni, Deny Menghini, Floriana Costanzo, Sandro Franceschini, Cristiana Varuzza, Luca Ronconi, Andrea Battisti, Simone Gori, Andrea Facoetti and Stefano Vicari
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020263 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4621
Abstract
Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an atypical activation of posterior left-hemisphere brain reading networks (i.e., temporo-occipital and temporo-parietal regions) and multiple neuropsychological deficits. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a tool for manipulating neural activity and, in turn, neurocognitive processes. While studies [...] Read more.
Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an atypical activation of posterior left-hemisphere brain reading networks (i.e., temporo-occipital and temporo-parietal regions) and multiple neuropsychological deficits. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a tool for manipulating neural activity and, in turn, neurocognitive processes. While studies have demonstrated the significant effects of tDCS on reading, neurocognitive changes beyond reading modulation have been poorly investigated. The present study aimed at examining whether tDCS on temporo-parietal regions affected not only reading, but also phonological skills, visuo-spatial working memory, visuo-spatial attention, and motion perception in a polarity-dependent way. In a within-subjects design, ten children and adolescents with dyslexia performed reading and neuropsychological tasks after 20 min of exposure to Left Anodal/Right Cathodal (LA/RC) and Right Anodal/Left Cathodal (RA/LC) tDCS. LA/RC tDCS compared to RA/LC tDCS improved text accuracy, word recognition speed, motion perception, and modified attentional focusing in our group of children and adolescents with dyslexia. Changes in text reading accuracy and word recognition speed—after LA/RC tDCS compared to RA/LC—were related to changes in motion perception and in visuo-spatial working memory, respectively. Our findings demonstrated that reading and domain-general neurocognitive functions in a group of children and adolescents with dyslexia change following tDCS and that they are polarity-dependent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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18 pages, 1358 KiB  
Article
The Focal Attention Window Size Explains Letter Substitution Errors in Reading
by Roberta Daini, Silvia Primativo, Andrea Albonico, Laura Veronelli, Manuela Malaspina, Massimo Corbo, Marialuisa Martelli and Lisa S. Arduino
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020247 - 16 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1854
Abstract
Acquired Neglect Dyslexia is often associated with right-hemisphere brain damage and is mainly characterized by omissions and substitutions in reading single words. Martelli et al. proposed in 2011 that these two types of error are due to different mechanisms. Omissions should depend on [...] Read more.
Acquired Neglect Dyslexia is often associated with right-hemisphere brain damage and is mainly characterized by omissions and substitutions in reading single words. Martelli et al. proposed in 2011 that these two types of error are due to different mechanisms. Omissions should depend on neglect plus an oculomotor deficit, whilst substitutions on the difficulty with which the letters are perceptually segregated from each other (i.e., crowding phenomenon). In this study, we hypothesized that a deficit of focal attention could determine a pathological crowding effect, leading to imprecise letter identification and consequently substitution errors. In Experiment 1, three brain-damaged patients, suffering from peripheral dyslexia, mainly characterized by substitutions, underwent an assessment of error distribution in reading pseudowords and a T detection task as a function of cue size and timing, in order to measure focal attention. Each patient, when compared to a control group, showed a deficit in adjusting the attentional focus. In Experiment 2, a group of 17 right-brain-damaged patients were asked to perform the focal attention task and to read single words and pseudowords as a function of inter-letter spacing. The results allowed us to confirm a more general association between substitution-type reading errors and the performance in the focal attention task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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18 pages, 1283 KiB  
Article
Action Video Games Enhance Attentional Control and Phonological Decoding in Children with Developmental Dyslexia
by Sara Bertoni, Sandro Franceschini, Giovanna Puccio, Martina Mancarella, Simone Gori and Andrea Facoetti
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020171 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 8031
Abstract
Reading acquisition is extremely difficult for about 5% of children because they are affected by a heritable neurobiological disorder called developmental dyslexia (DD). Intervention studies can be used to investigate the causal role of neurocognitive deficits in DD. Recently, it has been proposed [...] Read more.
Reading acquisition is extremely difficult for about 5% of children because they are affected by a heritable neurobiological disorder called developmental dyslexia (DD). Intervention studies can be used to investigate the causal role of neurocognitive deficits in DD. Recently, it has been proposed that action video games (AVGs)—enhancing attentional control—could improve perception and working memory as well as reading skills. In a partial crossover intervention study, we investigated the effect of AVG and non-AVG training on attentional control using a conjunction visual search task in children with DD. We also measured the non-alphanumeric rapid automatized naming (RAN), phonological decoding and word reading before and after AVG and non-AVG training. After both video game training sessions no effect was found in non-alphanumeric RAN and in word reading performance. However, after only 12 h of AVG training the attentional control was improved (i.e., the set-size slopes were flatter in visual search) and phonological decoding speed was accelerated. Crucially, attentional control and phonological decoding speed were increased only in DD children whose video game score was highly efficient after the AVG training. We demonstrated that only an efficient AVG training induces a plasticity of the fronto-parietal attentional control linked to a selective phonological decoding improvement in children with DD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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17 pages, 1653 KiB  
Article
Sleep-Related Declarative Memory Consolidation in Children and Adolescents with Developmental Dyslexia
by Flaminia Reda, Maurizio Gorgoni, Aurora D'Atri, Serena Scarpelli, Matteo Carpi, Erica Di Cola, Deny Menghini, Stefano Vicari, Giacomo Stella and Luigi De Gennaro
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010073 - 8 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4226
Abstract
Sleep has a crucial role in memory processes, and maturational changes in sleep electrophysiology are involved in cognitive development. Albeit both sleep and memory alterations have been observed in Developmental Dyslexia (DD), their relation in this population has been scarcely investigated, particularly concerning [...] Read more.
Sleep has a crucial role in memory processes, and maturational changes in sleep electrophysiology are involved in cognitive development. Albeit both sleep and memory alterations have been observed in Developmental Dyslexia (DD), their relation in this population has been scarcely investigated, particularly concerning topographical aspects. The study aimed to compare sleep topography and associated sleep-related declarative memory consolidation in participants with DD and normal readers (NR). Eleven participants with DD and 18 NR (9–14 years old) underwent a whole-night polysomnography. They were administered a word pair task before and after sleep to assess for declarative memory consolidation. Memory performance and sleep features (macro and microstructural) were compared between the groups, and the intercorrelations between consolidation rate and sleep measures were assessed. DD showed a deeper worsening in memory after sleep compared to NR and reduced slow spindles in occipito-parietal and left fronto-central areas. Our results suggest specific alterations in local sleep EEG (i.e., sleep spindles) and in sleep-dependent memory consolidation processes in DD. We highlight the importance of a topographical approach, which might shed light on potential alteration in regional cortical oscillation dynamics in DD. The latter might represent a target for therapeutic interventions aimed at enhancing cognitive functioning in DD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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14 pages, 610 KiB  
Article
Are Linguistic Prediction Deficits Characteristic of Adults with Dyslexia?
by Paul E. Engelhardt, Michelle K. Y. Yuen, Elise A. Kenning and Luna Filipovic
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010059 - 6 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2453
Abstract
Individuals with dyslexia show deficits in phonological abilities, rapid automatized naming, short-term/working memory, processing speed, and some aspects of sensory and visual processing. There is currently one report in the literature that individuals with dyslexia also show impairments in linguistic prediction. The current [...] Read more.
Individuals with dyslexia show deficits in phonological abilities, rapid automatized naming, short-term/working memory, processing speed, and some aspects of sensory and visual processing. There is currently one report in the literature that individuals with dyslexia also show impairments in linguistic prediction. The current study sought to investigate prediction in language processing in dyslexia. Forty-one adults with dyslexia and 43 typically-developing controls participated. In the experiment, participants made speeded-acceptability judgements in sentences with word final cloze manipulations. The final word was a high-cloze probability word, a low-cloze probability word, or a semantically anomalous word. Reaction time from the onset of the final word to participants’ response was recorded. Results indicated that individuals with dyslexia showed longer reaction times, and crucially, they showed clear differences from controls in low predictability sentences, which is consistent with deficits in linguistic prediction. Conclusions focus on the mechanism supporting prediction in language comprehension and possible reasons why individuals with dyslexia show less prediction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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10 pages, 1617 KiB  
Article
Reduced Visual Magnocellular Event-Related Potentials in Developmental Dyslexia
by John Stein
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010048 - 5 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2614
Abstract
(1) Background—the magnocellular hypothesis proposes that impaired development of the visual timing systems in the brain that are mediated by magnocellular (M-) neurons is a major cause of dyslexia. Their function can now be assessed quite easily by analysing averaged visually evoked event-related [...] Read more.
(1) Background—the magnocellular hypothesis proposes that impaired development of the visual timing systems in the brain that are mediated by magnocellular (M-) neurons is a major cause of dyslexia. Their function can now be assessed quite easily by analysing averaged visually evoked event-related potentials (VERPs) in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Such analysis might provide a useful, objective biomarker for diagnosing developmental dyslexia. (2) Methods—in adult dyslexics and normally reading controls, we recorded steady state VERPs, and their frequency content was computed using the fast Fourier transform. The visual stimulus was a black and white checker board whose checks reversed contrast every 100 ms. M- cells respond to this stimulus mainly at 10 Hz, whereas parvocells (P-) do so at 5 Hz. Left and right visual hemifields were stimulated separately in some subjects to see if there were latency differences between the M- inputs to the right vs. left hemispheres, and these were compared with the subjects’ handedness. (3) Results—Controls demonstrated a larger 10 Hz than 5 Hz fundamental peak in the spectra, whereas the dyslexics showed the reverse pattern. The ratio of subjects’ 10/5 Hz amplitudes predicted their reading ability. The latency of the 10 Hz peak was shorter during left than during right hemifield stimulation, and shorter in controls than in dyslexics. The latter correlated weakly with their handedness. (4) Conclusion—Steady state visual ERPs may conveniently be used to identify developmental dyslexia. However, due to the limited numbers of subjects in each sub-study, these results need confirmation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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10 pages, 265 KiB  
Article
Memory Deficits in Children with Developmental Dyslexia: A Reading-Level and Chronological-Age Matched Design
by Giulia Lazzaro, Cristiana Varuzza, Floriana Costanzo, Elisa Fucà, Silvia Di Vara, Maria Elena De Matteis, Stefano Vicari and Deny Menghini
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010040 - 1 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2923
Abstract
Developmental Dyslexia (DD) is considered a multifactorial deficit. Among the neurocognitive impairments identified in DD, it has been found that memory plays a particularly important role in reading and learning. The present study aims to investigate whether short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory [...] Read more.
Developmental Dyslexia (DD) is considered a multifactorial deficit. Among the neurocognitive impairments identified in DD, it has been found that memory plays a particularly important role in reading and learning. The present study aims to investigate whether short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) deficits could be related to poor reading experience or could be causal factors in DD. To verify that memory deficits in DD did not simply reflect differences in reading experience, 16 children with DD were not only compared to 16 chronological age-matched children (CA) but also to 16 reading level-matched children (RL) in verbal, visual-object, and visual-spatial STM and LTM tasks. Children with DD performed as well as RL, but worse than CA in all STM tasks. Considering LTM, the three groups did not differ in Visual-Object and Visual-Spatial Learning tasks. In the Verbal LTM task, DD recalled significantly fewer words than CA but not RL, while CA and RL showed a similar performance. The present results suggest that when reading experience was equated, children with DD and typical readers did not differ in STM and LTM, especially in the verbal modality, weakening claims that memory has a causal effect in reading impairments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
20 pages, 695 KiB  
Article
The Mediation Role of Dynamic Multisensory Processing Using Molecular Genetic Data in Dyslexia
by Sara Mascheretti, Valentina Riva, Bei Feng, Vittoria Trezzi, Chiara Andreola, Roberto Giorda, Marco Villa, Ginette Dionne, Simone Gori, Cecilia Marino and Andrea Facoetti
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(12), 993; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10120993 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2833
Abstract
Although substantial heritability has been reported and candidate genes have been identified, we are far from understanding the etiopathogenetic pathways underlying developmental dyslexia (DD). Reading-related endophenotypes (EPs) have been established. Until now it was unknown whether they mediated the pathway from gene to [...] Read more.
Although substantial heritability has been reported and candidate genes have been identified, we are far from understanding the etiopathogenetic pathways underlying developmental dyslexia (DD). Reading-related endophenotypes (EPs) have been established. Until now it was unknown whether they mediated the pathway from gene to reading (dis)ability. Thus, in a sample of 223 siblings from nuclear families with DD and 79 unrelated typical readers, we tested four EPs (i.e., rapid auditory processing, rapid automatized naming, multisensory nonspatial attention and visual motion processing) and 20 markers spanning five DD-candidate genes (i.e., DYX1C1, DCDC2, KIAA0319, ROBO1 and GRIN2B) using a multiple-predictor/multiple-mediator framework. Our results show that rapid auditory and visual motion processing are mediators in the pathway from ROBO1-rs9853895 to reading. Specifically, the T/T genotype group predicts impairments in rapid auditory and visual motion processing which, in turn, predict poorer reading skills. Our results suggest that ROBO1 is related to reading via multisensory temporal processing. These findings support the use of EPs as an effective approach to disentangling the complex pathways between candidate genes and behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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